Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-306-48113-0_190

Heartburn is a symptom of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which affects more than 60 million American adults at least once a month. About 25 million adults suffer daily from heartburn. Twenty-five percent of pregnant women experience daily heartburn. It is typically described as a burning sensation in the chest and throat. GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that is a muscle around the bottom of the esophagus (food pipe). It protects the esophagus from the regurgitation or backup of acid and stomach contents into the esophagus during digestion. If acid backs up into the esophagus, the esophageal lining offers a weak defense, and heartburn and other symptoms can result.

There are multiple risk factors for the development of heartburn. These include eating patterns, pregnancy, alcohol, smoking, certain foods and medications, and anatomical factors. Eating pattern risk factors include lying down soon after eating or snacking at bedtime....


Lower Esophageal Sphincter Erosive Esophagitis Lower Esophageal Sphincter Pressure Severe Heartburn Alcohol Cessation 
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Suggested Reading

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    American Medical Association. (2002, July). New considerations in the evaluation and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Chicago: Author.Google Scholar
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    Kahrilas, P. J., & Pandolfino, J. E. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and its complications. In M. Feldman, M. H. Schlesinger, J. S. Fordtran, B. F. Scharschmidt, & L. S. Friedman (Eds.), Gastrointestinal and liver disease (7th ed., pp. 599–622). Philadelphia: Elsevier.Google Scholar
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    Scott, M. (1999). Gastroesophageal reflux disease: Diagnosis and management. American Family Physician, 59, 1161–1169.PubMedGoogle Scholar

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© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

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